SUBSCRIBE TODAY Smiley face  Get updates via email! 

We Are Flying Solo

Showing posts with label worms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label worms. Show all posts

February 4, 2015

How Much DOES It Cost To Own A Horse: Vaccination Time

I don't have enough digits to count my encounters with that innocent inquiry, "I want my own horse, how much does ownership actually cost?"

I try not to laugh out loud, honestly, I do.   It was once me.

I may have been known to answer along the lines of:  "Add up everything you can think of.  Quadruple it.  Then, if you still have anything left in your account, throw it in the nearest river just to get used to the idea.  At that point, you're getting closer.  Oh, that doesn't count competing!"

Hey, it's like any relationship:  better to know up front, for BOTH parties!

Wait, You Owe Us A Tale Of Blogger Encounters!

Yes, I do promise, I shall regale you with the tale of the Awesomeness of Archie & Beka from The Owls Approve.  Which means something, because my Awesome standard is pretty damn high.  Well, she may have won a couple extra points for calling me "photogenic," which I find chokingly hilarious & appreciate the shocking flattery.

Fine, Back To Boring, Depressing Bills

The details of the truth, as we all learn at Owned (By) Horse #1, are far more nuanced, regional, & owner-dependent, but that's why they invented spreadsheets.  And the COTH Forums (they are massively entertaining, but do actually contain a great deal of incredibly educated & useful discussions if you have a lot of time & a finely tuned sifter).

However, for whatever little assistance it may offer, I give you a baseline example (click to embiggen):

What I consider my non-negotiables, bare bones.  Sum:  $171. 
The most excellent Dr. Bob administering Solo his spring vaccinations, general (which in Dr. Bob terms means not a detail is missed) health exam, back/teeth check, and pulling a Coggins.  That last is cheaper if we haul to one of the weekend clinics he offers at local venues every spring, but it evens out by costing me $0 in diesel, hookup/load time, or...doing anything.

Unscrambling alphabet soup...
The Quest Gel is an anomaly, I usually buy in bulk from ValleyVet.  But it's included due to an educational/promotional campaign from the manufacturers; I get $7 back for each horse with the purchase of that & my normal EEE/WEE/Tet/WNV vaccine.

Epic Neighbour Richard also uses Dr. Bob, so we coordinate & split the farm call fee, woot!

Add In Hayburner #2

I won't post Encore's invoice, as it includes his annual back injection & may cause cardiac arrhythmia in any viewing humans.  I refuse to be liable, use your OWN vet bills for that!  But his basics are identical, which means, leaving out the wormer, a grand total of $314 for both horses.  If no one throws anything out of whack, gets hurt, or is subject to fecal analysis (translate: unicorn-land).  Twice a year, adding rabies ($18/horse) in the fall. 

In our area, Dr. Bob is a hidden gem, so his prices are significantly lower than others but his experience & sheer talent is off the chart.   

For my partners-in-poverty, where does that fall on your scale? 

She must have many horses; she couldn't even buy the rest of her pants, poor thing...

August 8, 2011

It's A Bird. It's A Plane. Oh, Wait, It's SuperVet!

That's right, it's Episode 59 of Dr. Bob Presents.

It was time for fall shots (a perennial favourite of Mr. Orange Wimpy Pants) which is code for time where I stockpile all my equine questions in a marathon Dr. Bob Inquisition. Only there is no torture. Unless you consider me asking questions torture. Which he might. But I pay him. So too bad.

Question 1: I've noticed Solo's heels tend to underrun. Should I be concerned? Should I try to fix this? Can it be fixed?

Dr. Bob's Treatise On Feet (may be cropped to fit this screen and typing energy level): When a horse's heels get crushed by bad farrier work, they cannot always be fixed. Which is why I freak out when I see this happening. The heels will, over time, continue to grow at the new, undesired angle and you can cause more damage and spend a horse's whole life trying to fix it. What is important is that the heels are fully supported, the toes are kept short, the angles of the whole foot and leg are balanced, and the horse is comfortable.

Question 2: My massage fingers are paranoid. Is this part of his butt supposed to feel this tight and is this part suppose to twitch when I press on it and does his ass feel better?

Dr. Bob's Treatise On Equine Musculature (definitely abbreviated to allow for approaching bedtime): This muscle group goes this way and this muscle group goes this way (lecture on muscles and fascia commences which is fascinating, but too long to type). Yes, this part is supposed to feel tight and yes, that is supposed to twitch, and yes, he feels much better. Your massage work is excellent! (here I throw a self-congratulatory internal party)

Question 3:  I would like to bring Solo back to competition at Novice level in early October.  We will not go Training again until at least late November; I will not rush him.

Dr. Bob: Sweet. Sounds good. Thumbs up. (Hey, it's not all treatises.)

Question 4:  My friend's horse is a chunky, black, PerchieX and he has terrible anhydrosis.  He's been on OneAC for months and they are both miserable.  I heard a rumour about accupuncture helping -- can you fix him?

Dr. Bob's Treatise On Anhydrosis (I've already heard the accupuncture treatise): Sure, I can staple his ears; this commonly is very successful. I've had a horse start sweating within 15 minutes of staples going in. I've never had much luck with OneAC. Thyroid supplements also often help, but take about a month to start working.

From here, we launched into a discussion of the equine glandular system and feedback pathways throughout. I don't think it's good for business to let science geeks talk to each other, we have notoriously poor time management skills. In fact, Dr. Bob's lucky I don't have any money or else I would schedule appointments just to peruse his seemingly boundless collection of horse knowledge.

Your summary: Solo's healing. His feet and muscle look good and a comeback looks hopeful. I can begin adding more jumps to our rides while keeping up the massage. Solo was a week overdue on worming and his fecal was at a 2 for worms, so we obviously have undead zombie worms on the farm and I shot that wormer in as soon as we got home. Of course, he spit it out, so I scraped it off the floor and shoved it back in. He swallowed that time. PerchieX needs some ear staples and my bank account needs CPR. But it was worth it.

March 29, 2011

I'll Take A Day That's Halfway Good

The rumbly truck is home!  With a new tie rod end and freshly packed wheel bearings, it is ready to resume Solo-hauling duty with renewed vigor.

I'll take that!

Solo is done with his Panacur PowerPac and we both say "Hurrah!" to no more smelly, gooey, white slime.

I'll take that!

In the bright afternoon sun, we had a pretty decent dressage school. Solo is getting a more powerful push back into his transitions into trot. I once again used the transitions within the trot I tried a few days ago to prep for canter, and it worked again! Softer, rounder canter transitions that resulted in a slow, strong, rhythmic stride.

I'll take that!

Ok, so I have to shove an icepack down my pants every few hours to try to bring down the inflammation in my SI joint that is torturing me these days. But even that's not all bad -- with the help of chiro and PT, we are FINALLY narrowing in on the problems and making some headway. PT taped up the right side of my back and leg down to my knee yesterday with the magic of kinesiotape and it's working and hell,

I'll even take that!

March 7, 2011

Dr. Bob's Magical Worm Plan

Sounds like a great amusement park ride, doesn't it? Having spent a rainy day in a fit of cleaning the house (it gets done every six months, whether it needs it or not), I dumped out my huge box of wormer from Valley Vet (having laid in stock as per Dr. Bob's instructions for an aggressive six week schedule) and attacked it with a sharpie.

I keep pretty careful records anyway, thanks to the great database at Rendaivu (accessible from any computer!), but now all I have to do is open the cupboard door and know instantly what and when is due next. I have the deepest pity for Solo's tastebuds this year.

February 16, 2011

The Horse Owner's Vigil

It's been a long night.  I hate horses.

Ok, you're right, I don't hate them. Well, maybe just a little.

I rode Solo on Monday evening, lightly. He felt like crap on toast. Burnt toast. He was sore and flinchy on his sides and back. I put in a call to Dr. Bob Tuesday morning (when do I get assigned my own red "Dr. Bob Direct Line?") and waited.

I had the distinct pleasure of a truly horrible meeting all day at work on Tuesday, so when we pulled in the driveway at 5:00 pm, I leaped in my truck and rumbled over to the farm to hug and groom my mess of a horse.

He met me at the stall door and lounged quietly in the crossties as I trimmed the mohawk and knocked the dried grass out of his hair. His sides and belly were even more sensitive and he showed a good deal of pain on top of his bum, but his face was calm and he'd gobbled up his food, so I put him back and let him be. I went home to worry and get a calming hug from my good friend, Jose. You may know him as Mr. Cuervo. He's a good man.

7:00 pm, I've been home for about 40 minutes, and the phone rings. It's lifeshighway and she reports Solo is behaving even more oddly; he pooped, he drank, but he has "grumpy face" and has to be dragged bodily from his stall to the pasture, where he stands pouting with his head in the corner. He never behaves like that unless something is REALLY bothering him.

That rushing sound you heard was the blood draining from my face as Anxiety Girl stepped in.

BO is not home, so I start pestering her voicemail and simultaneously leave a message with her DH, who IS home and will put some eyes on Solo after lifeshighway heads home. My brain has already leaped to worm impaction colic, so I beg of Jose to stay with me a little longer.

My call log for the next two hours looks like this:

6:58 pm: lifeshighway
6:59 pm: lifeshighway
7:04 pm: BO
7:05 pm: lifeshighway
7:08 pm: BO
7:15 pm: lifeshighway
7:39 pm: BO
7:49 pm: lifeshighway
8:29 pm: BO
9:20 pm: BO

No, I am not making that up. Don't you wish you were in my contacts list? HA!

Do I call the vet? Do I not call the vet? Is it better to alert him at 7 pm that "my horse is acting weird" (whatever the heck he is supposed to do with that information) or is it better to wait until 10 pm if things progress? I cannot make up my mind and Anxiety Girl just seems to enjoy making it spin faster.

When I finally get in touch with BO around 7:40, she promises to check Solo as soon as she gets home and then before she goes to bed. As long as everything is fine, she won't call me.

Ok, I can live with that.

Oh, Jose, your calming powers are unmatched. Surely, our reverence for you is justified.

8:30 pm, my phone rings, it's BO's number. OMFG, five years drop from my life as I answer.

But it's BO's dear husband, who knew the call would freak me out, but wanted to reassure me that he just walked out and checked on Solo, who was calmly munching hay, oblivious to the blind panic of his custodian. The DH just wanted to give me some good news, bless him!

As the night creeps on, I formulate a plan. If BO checks him around 11 pm, then I'll go check him again at 3 am so he is not left for a long period of time (in which he is surely thrashing and dying, Anxiety Girl helpfully chips in).

I crawl into bed fully clothed, alarm set, and cell phone and keys next to the bed. Laying in the dark, I am sure that right this very moment, Solo's intestines are disintegrating into a puddle of moosh (when he is probably, in fact, still eating hay).

It's not really sleep, more of a fitful snooze until the alarm hits 3:00 am. I punch the button and stumble into the truck; I am eminently grateful the farm is only three miles down these dark, empty roads.

When my headlights hit my horse, he is resting calmly on the ground next to his buddy. He gets up and they both come to the fence for petting. Obviously suffering greatly. I sigh, but it's worth it -- if something DID happen, and I DIDN'T come, I would have never forgiven myself.

Solo's belly still hurts though, so I call the vet this morning to give them an update. When Dr. Bob calls me back, we agree that we need to hit Solo hard for ulcers immediately and I promptly hand over the hundreds of dollars it takes to get your hands on Ulcerguard (omeprazole). Geez, that stuff better make my horse into a unicorn. Or something.

For now, all Solo functions seem to be operating normally. We all know that colic can kick in with little or no warning though and losing Ben last fall is still fresh in all our minds. There will be a week of intensive omeprazole treatment and then at least two more weeks at a reduced dosage, then we'll see where we are.

It makes sense though -- Solo doesn't want to lift his back because to do so, he'd have to engage his abdominal muscles. Engaging those probably hurts like heck, so he holds his body carefully to avoid jostling the sore bits, which then leads to other sore bits.

Can this please be over soon? I'm not a big fan of 2011 so far.

February 14, 2011

A Day Of Red -- For Two Reasons

Happy Valentine's Day!  (Or #%@#&! Valentine's Day, as the case may be)

Red Number One: Love. Love for the horses (of course!). But I also have to pay tribute to the love of my very special SO. He made all of this possible five years ago when he bought me a shiny orange ball of heart with its own swishing tail. Forever generous and forever supportive of my singular and consuming dream, I couldn't do it without him. Work keeps him far away for now, a situation that many in this country have to deal with these days, but miles are no barrier for something so unique and so deeply wonderful. Thank you, darlin', for all you do and for giving me a much-needed weekend of relaxing and recharging, I love you more than anything (well, ok, except Solo, wink wink).

Who are you filled with love for today? Is there a very special someone whose picture you stare dreamily at on your desk? Hint: four-legged someones ABSOLUTELY count!!!

Red Number Two: Blood. Solo's blood to be precise. I had a chat with Dr. Bob on Friday, just before I hopped a plane to St. Louis for Red Number One, as the blood panel results were in. Solo's red blood count has dropped again and he showed an elevation in white count as well. Both of these can most likely be attributed to the parasite load. The decreased RBC levels, Dr. Bob feels, are also a likely factor in the gum inflammation. It is very lucky we gave him a steroid shot when we did, about two weeks ago, or he would be in far worse shape then he is now.  He may also have some gut ulceration from the worms, but we just have to wait and see how he feels on that one.

In two weeks, then, we'll give him another steroid shot to build the blood back up (good thing I kept him on his vitamin supplement!). Dr. Bob also recommends a Panacur PowerPac in six weeks to make sure everything is cleaned out. I will start riding again tonight, keeping it low key for a bit and feel things out.

In the back of my head, I can't help but think of the looming spring season. But I have to pull the curtain on that particular window, so as not to lose focus on today. If we make it, we make it, but I CANNOT let that drive what we are doing in the here and now.

February 10, 2011

Dr. Bob To The Rescue, Chapter 37

Yes, we went to visit our good friend again today as Solo showed no improvement when asked to engage his hind end after a week and a half of taking it easy following his chiropractic adjustment. My instincts screamed at me that there was something else holding him back.

I gave Dr. Bob my observations of the week: locked left jaw with heavy leaning, inability to lift the back or engage the hind end, inability to balance on the rear quarters, strong resistance to bending to the left, muscle twitching on the right side of the body when stretched. From a horse, who though sometimes opinionated, does NOT have belligerent in his character. There was much poking, prodding, and Solo giving me pathetic faces of dismay.

Dr. Bob is nothing if not thorough; he always starts at the nose and works back. And he immediately discovers Solo has gingivitis! His gums are inflamed around some of his teeth and bleed when rubbed. I insist that he has not been eating gummy bears and neither will I take up flossing his teeth for him. Also, he has had no problems eating hay or grain and dives readily into both.

His neck and back have held their alignment well but it is quickly apparent as Dr. Bob runs practiced fingers over his midback and hindquarters that there is a great deal of soreness there. Then he palpates Solo's belly midline and my horse twitches and kicks a hindleg at his stomach (which I have noticed has become rather potbellied of late). To finish, we draw blood for a panel and grab a nice fresh turd for a fecal.

Today's verdict: my instincts are not wrong.  There are four big ligaments that attach the pelvis to the spine (see the turquoise spot on top of the horse's butt at left).  These are very very sore, so they each get injected with a muscle relaxer.  Solo does not particularly enjoy this process.

The belly can have several explanations. (1) Sand in the gut (although it's a bit far forward for that apparently). (2) Ulcer. (3) Something else. However, after checking on the fecal, we discover that poor Solo is *choke* full of worms. WTF????? Valley Vet, I have been paying for your yearly wormer premium pack and following the directions and now my horse is a wormball??? Me not happy. At all.  Guess that potbelly is not a hay belly. 

There are a variety of reasons a pasture can become loaded with worms and that a horse can subsequently adopt said worms. Our pastures are Bermuda grass, kept mowed short for weed and tick control (ticks are HORRID here) and dragged once or twice a week. Of course, the shorter your grass is, the more densely packed the worms are on the blade. And the more you drag when the weather is warm, the more worms are spread around. But if you don't drag, you have poop hell and the flies dance a dance of joy, unless you follow your horse around with a pitchfork and a bucket. And the longer you let your grass grow, the more ticks and weeds you get. Seems to me we have a near-impossible situation, but BO is in charge of pasture management, so that is something beyond my control. And obviously what we do works at least some of the time -- of four horses who got a fecal last fall, all were clean except one who just had a few scattered worms (he is an old guy).

So. Solo gets the weekend off anyway, as I will be gone. I jammed a tube of moxidectin in his mouth when I brought him back to the farm, horrified that my horse is parasite-ridden despite my attempts at perfect wormer application.. Starting next week, I will start rehab work (volume II) and see if we get some more improvement this time. I'll have blood results tomorrow, so that may give me some more information as well. I suspect the gum issues may be related to the parasite load, but that I am not sure of yet.

We also got a new (improved!) worming schedule. *drumroll* For agressive parasite control, worm every six weeks with:

Winter: (1) Panacur/Safeguard (fenbendazole)
            (2) Quest/Quest Plus (moxidectin; Quest Plus
                 [moxidectin/praziquantel blend] is currently not
                 available but company swears they will start
                 making it again soon)

Spring: (1) Zimectrin Gold/Equimax
                 (see generic ivermectrin warning here)
            (2) Quest/Quest Plus

Summer:  (1) Panacur/Safeguard
                (2) Guess what?  Quest/Quest Plus

Fall:  (1) Strongid (pyrantel pamoate)
        (2) You know it, Quest/Quest Plus

In addition, make sure you worm for tapeworms at least 2x per year (praziquantel does this).

If Solo is still showing signs of issues after we clean this mess up, then we will try feeding psyllium for a week and/or treating for ulcers.  I am hoping that will not be an issue...  I will never know what he did to himself.  Most likely, he slipped in the pasture and just slammed his hips playing.  But what I beg/plead/gasp/hope/want now is for him to get better!!

April 12, 2010

Long Thin Slimy Ones, Short Fat Juicy Ones...

WORMS! I wanted to quickly share a tidbit my vet graced me with this afternoon as I took Solo in for his spring shots:

All generic forms of ivermectin have been recalled over the past two or three years. They are completely ineffective; in the words of my much-loved Dr. Bob, "You'd be better off spitting in your horse's mouth than using that stuff." So if you bought that $1 ivermectin, don't waste your time. Stick to the name brands like Equimax or Zimectrin.

Also, never give ivermectin in the late summer (July/August); at this time, if horses are infected with parasites, there is a type that hatches out and migrates through the body. If you give ivermectin at this time, it will kill these hatchlings and cause very nasty pustuly reactions. Ew.

While on the subject of worms, Dr. Bob also mentioned that Panacur has an added bonus of boosting the immune system and the PowerPac can be given at any time of the year. Ask your vet if they sell the liquid in bulk -- you can buy enough to dose 5 horses for about $140. That's a lot cheaper than spending about $80 on a single horse's worth!